Antioxidants: what are they and how can I use them?
Antioxidants protect the skin by limiting free radical production, which can damage the skin. With daily use, they can reduce lentigines (sun spots), help combat visible signs of aging and calm skin inflammations. Several antioxidants provide the skin with hydration and increase moisture retention to help revitalize dull-looking skin. In short, antioxidants are damage defenders that help slow skin aging—and they deserve a place in your routine.
Antioxidants are substances that help protect the skin’s surface from oxidative damage caused by free radicals and environmental aggressors like UV and pollution. Antioxidants are often found in skin care product formulas because of their powerful anti-aging benefits.
What Antioxidants Can Do for Your Skin
Antioxidants help correct signs of age.
Oxidative stress breaks down collagen, hinders skin’s natural repair process and triggers inflammation—and you see these effects as fine lines, wrinkles, loose skin, acne breakouts and a blotchy skin tone. By scavenging free radicals, antioxidants can help prevent and correct these visible signs and give skin a more youthful glow.
Antioxidants help prevent sun damage.
“By definition, all antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties,” explains Dr. Ashley Magovern, a board-certified dermatologist in Manhattan Beach, Calif. and medical director at Dermstore. “They blunt your skin’s inflammatory response to the sun’s harmful rays, preventing sunburn and providing enhanced protection against sun damage and photoaging.”
Antioxidants help skin repair itself.
Inflammation impedes the skin’s renewal process. By reducing inflammation, antioxidants allow skin to repair itself and correct visible damage. “Some antioxidants, like vitamin C, can also stimulate collagen production, which is vital for youthful skin,” adds Dr. Magovern.
Antioxidants help brighten skin tone.
Free radicals and frequent sun exposure can also trigger changes in our skin’s melanin production, causing dark spots and uneven skin tone. By reducing photodamage, antioxidants can help prevent abnormal skin pigmentation. Some antioxidants (again, like vitamin C) also work to inhibit tyrosinase, an enzyme that stimulates melanin production.